Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So I guess I have to come right out and admit it.
I am a knife junkie. I can't tell you how many I have; in reality, way to many. Nothing expensive, nothing collectible. But far too many sharp edges to really justify.
However, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about a couple of my favorites. Both are fixed blade, "bushcraft" type knives. All around good cutters, both have a Scandinavian grind on the sharp side, a flat spine and handmade sheaths.
The first is a SWC bushcraft knife that is really similar to a Ray Mears- wood lore type of knife. The differences are pretty subtle, and I don't really know what they are to be honest. But I ordered the bare blade from Steve Cox in the UK, and was really pleased with what I got back. sharp, flawless, it had his initials etched into the handle area as well as the Rockwell readings for different areas of the blade. Shame I had to cover them up with handle scales! I filled out the handle with liner-less zebra wood that was scrap from my hunting bow, and pinned it with homemade mosaic pins. After a bit of filing, sanding and shaping, I am really pleased with this knife. I can get it absolutely razor sharp with my japanese water stones. I finished the kit up with a handmade British bushcrafter style sheath and a fire steel topped with cocobollo wood (that also matches my hunting bow). I hardend the sheath with wax using a process similar to the one outlined by alpharubicon and Old Jimbo. Tough stuff! Steve was great to work with, although I understand his wait time has grown exponentially since I aquired mine. He is also a one man shop who makes knives one at a time, so if you are looking for something one-off or something totally unique, shoot him an email. It may take a bit for him to get back to you, but the quality of knife you'll recieve is top notch!
My other bushcraft favorite is the Enzo trapper. Bought this one a while back from Ben's Backwoods and love it. I got the birch handle kit and it couldn't have been easier to assemble. The scales were pre drilled, the liners pre glued. I simply used some two ton epoxy on all sides, and screwed the pins down snug. A day later I began shaping the handle and before I knew it I had a great woods knife. This one also get razor sharp without too much fuss. A side note here would be that the kit I bought from Ben looks like he no longer sells it, however, he now has more choices for handle woods which you simply by with a knife blank. Ben is great to deal with, by the way, and I'd recommend him to anyone. I finished the Enzo off with a mule deer antler tipped firesteel and a more Western style sheath.
The blade of the Enzo is about an inch(2.5 CM) shorter than the SWC, the grind is a bit more acute on the Enzo than the SWC, and the blade shape is obviously different. I think because of the blade shape I'd preffer the Enzo to the SWC for skinning chores, but other than that there is no clear winner for me.
The knives are neck and neck in nearly all aspects. Both can carve, both can be sharpeded to an absolute razor edge. Both fuzz sticks like no one's business.... both are strong contenders if you are looking for that "one knife" to take into the woods with you.